Things That Matter

Two Marines In California Have Been Charged With Smuggling Immigrants Across The Border

Coming to the U.S. isn’t easy. It can cost a lot of money whether people do it legally or not. Sometimes it can even cost them their lives. In 2018, The New York Times reported that coyotes — people who help undocumented immigrants enter the U.S. — charged people thousands of dollars. But who are these coyotes anyway? Coyotes can be anyone, men, women, professionals or otherwise. Coyotes have also been known to exploit those they are supposedly trying to help. The job is a dangerous one that puts all parties at risk with the ultimate goal of getting everyone in the party across the U.S.-Mexico border without injury or being caught. Unfortunately, more often than not, these stories don’t have a happy ending.

Two marines attempted to help undocumented immigrants enter the U.S., but were caught en route to their destination.

Credit: @vevecurl / Twitter

According to media reports on July 3, Camp Pendleton marines Byron Darnell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quintero were arrested at Jacumba Hot Springs, California — which is east of San Diego near the border. The men had three undocumented immigrants in their car. They now face “one felony count of seeking monetary compensation,” Fox5 reports. When the men were pulled over for questioning the two Marines began pointing fingers at one another, CNN reports.

Salazar-Quintero allegedly told Law if he wanted to make $1000 for transporting the undocumented immigrants.

Credit: @Mickpgem / Twitter

This was not the first time Salazar-Quintero helped undocumented people enter the U.S. According to news reports, he told officials that he had picked people near Jacumba Hot Springs several times before. Officials spoke to the undocumented immigrants who said that they paid Salazar-Quintero $8,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. That amount is what the standard rate is, according to the 2018 New York Times report. However, Salazar-Quintero said he was expecting $500 for the pickup. It’s unclear if he was given more.

The complaint shows that Salazar-Quintero was the one spearheading the transportation details.

Credit: @realGenerationX / Twitter

It’s unclear who first contacted Salazar-Quintero but the complaint states that Law said Salazar-Quintero was handling the phone calls which include information about instructions. Salazar-Quintero also speaks Spanish which helped in facilitating the movement.

It’s also uncertain if other marines helped Salazar-Quintero to smuggle undocumented immigrants previously or if he acted alone. One theory that perhaps helped Salazar-Quintero is that officials wouldn’t question why he would have undocumented people in his car since he is an official marine. However, if he was in plains clothing that may have been a reason why he got caught.

Both marines are distinguished officers who have received awards for their service.

Credit: @shastableus / Twitter

The National Review reports that they both enlisted in 2017 and “have won the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Officials at Camp Pendleton said they are cooperating “fully with the investigative efforts into this matter.”

While coyotes aren’t the main way people enter the country, it’s a method that is still used whether it is through car transport or via semi-trucks.

We’ve seen previous reports of dozens, if not hundreds, of undocumented immigrants being transported through semi-trucks. Some are in there for days without water or without means to use the bathrooms. The NY Times reports that “a decade ago, Mexicans and Central Americans paid between $1,000 and $3,000 for clandestine passage into the United States. Now they hand over up to $9,200 for the same journey, the Department of Homeland Security reported last year.”

Fox News now reports that Mexico is trying to combat the smuggling of undocumented immigrants by using X-ray machines to see inside trucks.

“Mexican officials say they caught more than 200 migrants hidden in trucks the last two days, using X-rays to see the people hidden inside. The Mexican security ministry also said it found 228 migrants in a routine search of a soft drink transportation truck in one of its southern states on Monday.”

“It is our strategic objective to end the impunity for human traffickers,” Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Monday, according to Fox News.

READ: New Research Shows Most Undocumented Immigrants Aren’t Coming From Mexico But Instead Central America

This Candidate For DA In San Francisco Has A Plan To Tackle Racial Disparities In The Justice System

Things That Matter

This Candidate For DA In San Francisco Has A Plan To Tackle Racial Disparities In The Justice System

Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Chesa Boudin is running for district attorney in San Francisco. At a forum hosted by Project Rebound, Boudin was asked about the growing white supremacy in the U.S. and his plans to combat it. The candidate did not shy away from the question and attacked it head-on in English and Spanish to be inclusive. Here’s what he had to say.

San Francisco DA candidate Chesa Boudin is on a mission to tackle the growing issue of white supremacy in the U.S.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

The candidate was asked directly how he would combat white supremacy if he was the district attorney of San Francisco. To that end, Boudin sharted his answer with the audience in English and Spanish so everyone could be included in the discussion.

Before anything, Boudin started by discussing the history of the U.S. and the ingrained racism in the country.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

“We need to start with a history that goes way back before this country,” Boudin told the audience. “We need to recognize that in this country, the United States, racism has very deep roots. Very deep.”

Boudin added: “So when you talk about white supremacy, that’s not a joke. That’s what’s happening today in the White House.”

Boudin told the audience that we can’t ignore racism and white supremacy, which is everywhere.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

“That’s why I’ve committed toa whole series of policies that are on my website, to fight back against white supremacy and against racism,” Boudin said.

Boudin also committed to creating an immigration unit within the DA’s office to counter the issues facing the community.

His impassioned speech caught people’s attention across the U.S.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Project Rebound, the organization that hosted the forum, is dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated people to reenter society. Project Rebound helps people who were incarcerated by enrolling them in classes at the San Francisco State University and supports them on their journey. The organization strives to reduce recidivism rates through education and career building.

Boudin is the child of incarcerated parents. His mother and father were getaway drivers at the Brink’s robbery in Nanuet, New York in 1981. It was an armed robbery that led to the death of one Brink’s guard and two Nyack police officers. His mother was sentenced to 20 years to life while his father was sentenced to 75 years in connection to the crime. They were both members of the Weather Underground, a left militant organization.

Some people are celebrating Boudin’s unapologetic approach to discussing white supremacy and racism in the U.S.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Boudin ended his conversation about white supremacy and racism with a simple sentence.

“If we can’t name it, how are we ever going to beat it,” Boudin said.

Boudin has laid out how he plans to tackle racial disparities while in office.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Here are four points Boudin has committed to in his fight against racial disparity, according to his website.

  • Commit to transparent decision-making.  The criminal justice system can’t be fair if it isn’t also transparent.  And right now, it’s anything but. The office will publish data about the demographics of people stopped, arrested, jailed, convicted, and sentenced to increase the transparency and accountability of every agency involved in the system.  There is no excuse for obscuring this information from public view, and by forcing us to grapple more seriously with the racist outcomes the system produces, we will be better equipped to change them.
  • Require a racial impact statement in every case.  The racist outcomes produced by our criminal justice system will be less tolerable when decision-makers are regularly forced to confront them.  Accordingly, prosecutors will be required to state on the record–in open court and before the judge–the racial bias statistics relevant to the stage of the case being addressed.  For example, before asking that an African American defendant be detained prior to trial, a prosecutor must state on the record the percentage of African Americans in jail on pretrial detention and the percentage of African Americans who reside in San Francisco.  Before making a sentencing recommendation, a prosecutor must state the disparity in sentences among Black and White defendants.
  • Implement race-blind charging and plea bargaining.  We should do everything we can to make sure that neither explicit nor implicit biases impact decisions made by the District Attorney’s Office.  Prosecutors will not know the demographic information of people before filing charges. The office will explore applying the same process for plea bargains, having a second prosecutor review a file, blind to demographic information, before making an initial plea offer.
  • No more prosecuting racist gang enhancements. When a person is convicted of a felony, they may be sentenced to time in prison.  Under Penal Code § 186.22, part of the California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (STEP Act), prosecutors can seek additional prison time beyond that received for the underlying felony when the person accused of the crime is found to be gang-involved.  But here’s the thing: This mechanism, known as a “gang enhancement,” is racist, ineffective, and unnecessary. 

You can read Boudin’s full racial disparity plan here.

For Boudin, the integrity of the entire judicial system is questioned when racism prevails.

“When our criminal justice system treats people differently based on the color of their skin, the integrity of the entire system is undermined,” reads Boudin’s website. “Individuals and entire communities come to distrust law enforcement, making our city not only less just, but also less safe. Eradicating racism from our society is a long project, and one we need to take on much more seriously than we have. The criminal justice system, capable of producing incalculable harm, is an important place to start.”

Some people are thankful for someone who is willing to move the conversation forward using inclusivity.

Credit: Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney / Facebook

Boudin’s plan is bold and has voters excited as the Nov. 5 election for the San Francisco district attorney fast approaches.

You can watch the full video below and see what Boudin has planned.

White Supremacy?

(sound on) We were at a candidate forum organized by Project Rebound and Professor Jose B Cuellar, wearing a Brown Beret t-shirt asked a question about white-supremacy. Here is how I break it down – in English and Spanish. #antiracist #LanguageAccess #Boudin4DA #TeamBoudin video by @Natasha Florentino

Posted by Chesa Boudin for San Francisco District Attorney on Friday, October 4, 2019

What do you think about Boudin’s plan to tackle white supremacy and racism?

READ: Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Is Literally Out Here Trying To Deny White Supremacy After The El Paso Shooting

Doorbell Camera Shows A Woman Seeking Help From Neighbors As Captor Pulls Her Away

Things That Matter

Doorbell Camera Shows A Woman Seeking Help From Neighbors As Captor Pulls Her Away

There is a disturbing video out of Arcadia, California that shows a man attacking his estranged girlfriend. The footage was captured on a neighbor’s Ring doorbell as the woman ran for help. The culprit, Robert Michael Mendez, 27, has been charged with suspicion of attempted murder, kidnapping and false imprisonment after Arcadia Police say they received footage of him dragging and assaulting the women. 

Ring doorbell surveillance footage shows Richard Michael Mendez dragging away his estranged girlfriend from a neighbors front door. 

The doorbell video shows the woman running to a neighbors front door and knocking for help. Mendez then runs up to her, grabs her by the hair and drags her away as she screams.

Authorities received the Ring doorbell footage taken from a home in the area of Santa Anita Avenue and Camino Real Avenue at around 11:40 p.m. that appeared to show a man, later identified as Mendez, dragging the woman who had showed up at the home begging for assistance. 

“The extent of the female’s injuries were severe enough to warrant hospitalization,” a police news release said. “Investigation also revealed that the female victim had been held against her will inside the residence since late (Sunday) evening.”

Many people have been shocked to see the disturbing footage that has made rounds on national news. 

Credit: @kandisscronetv / Twitter

The homeowners of where the attack happened sent the video to the police who then began searching through the neighborhood for Mendez. Upon knocking on his door, authorities identified him as the suspect. They also found the woman inside his home and she was quickly rushed to the hospital with significant injuries. Mendez was taken into custody without incident. 

Authorities say the woman was being held against her will at Mendez’s house since September 29. While fellow neighbors said that Mendez had kept to himself, they did notice numerous cars coming in and out of his house.

“I thought she was going to die,” Arcadia neighbor Tammy Raycraft told KCAL/KCBS, noting that she saw the entire incident go down. “We looked out the side window over here and witnessed him stomping on her, pulling her by her hair … it was awful. It was really traumatic to watch.”

The surveillance footage was provided by Ring, the Amazon-owned technology company, which has partnered with more than 400 police departments nationwide. But some people say this might infringe on privacy rights.

Credit: @mayawiley / Twitter

This incident is an example of how Ring and other tech companies have helped law enforcement agencies across the country find similar fugitives. As of now, Ring has stated that they are working with 405 police departments nationwide. The goal of this partnership is to convince people to not only buy the device but also sign up for its neighborhood watch app. In return, police get access to your Ring video footage with your permission. 

While the technology partnership has support, some worry about certain privacy issues. Police can still request video footage directly from Amazon if it has been uploaded to its cloud and the request is sent within 60 days of recording. This can happen even if an individual denies police access to that video footage.

While this only applies to users who live near law enforcement agencies that are working with Ring, it does set precedent for future surveillance technology. In this case, it helped lead to an arrest that might have never happened if it wasn’t for the video footage.

READ: Lupita Nyong’o Wrote A Children’s Book About The Prejudice In Favor Of Lighter Skin Color And It’s Out This Month